TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — Tobyhanna continues to move the military’s worldwide communications closer to real time via installation of state-of-the-art satellite communications terminals.
Technicians are installing AN/GSC-52B terminals, which are part of the Department of Defense’s Modernization of Enterprise Terminals acquisition program. These terminals allow U.S. forces worldwide communications in as close to real-time as possible.
The terminals provide increased data capabilities through Ka-band Wideband Global SATCOM satellites. The WGS are much more stable and have the ability to operate on both the Ka-band and X-band instead of just the less-capable X-band.
Each new terminal is comprised of a fixed 12.2-meter antenna reflector assembly and associated SATCOM equipment such as modems and routers, and transmit and receive subsystems.
The new technology is replacing an aging fleet of terminals and is currently being installed in Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; and Fort Meade, Maryland.
“We are installing two AN/GSC-52B(v)3s at Fort Meade for Program Lead-Wideband Enterprise Satellite Systems,” said Logistics Management Specialist David Iverson (a resident of Wilkes-Barre). “Teams de-installed the legacy (AN/GSC-52A) terminals there in November. Two teams of 16 people are at Fort Meade performing the installations of the new terminals for the 327th Signal Company. They should be done by late April.” Iverson works in the depot’s Satellite and Secure Communications Project Management Branch.
Team members at Offutt installing the new SATCOM terminals say the work is hard, but rewarding.
“The warfighter needs and deserves our full support, as they are Mission 1,” said Electronics Mechanic Bob Kowalczyk (a resident of Hudson). “I’m most proud of helping the warfighter. We have a very high caliber of people working in [our shop] and I enjoy meeting new people and working with them from place to place.”
Tobyhanna personnel have traveled to various locations worldwide to install modular terminals for the MET program since the new satellites began launching in 2007.
Kowalczyk, and several of the other team members, has worked missions in Germany, Japan, Alaska, California, Colorado and Maryland. His favorite mission was to Germany for the first MET work. “Virginia was the worst, the traffic,” he said.
Bear Creek Township resident Thomas Lewis, an integrated systems mechanic, said that he is proud of building complete, functional MET terminals, but the work is not easy. In some locations, technicians had to work in subzero temperatures.
“But you get to see some new places and learn some new skills,” he said. “We have a very strong team; everybody knows what to do and when.”
Electronics Mechanic Ryan Yzeik (a resident of Jefferson Township) echoed the weather challenge, but said he is “proud to give back to our military men and women”.
“The most rewarding part of this job is the end result,” he added.
Upgrades will significantly reduce operating space and improve the terminal’s power. The new 52B systems will support internet protocol and dedicated circuit connectivity within the DOD information network providing critical command, control, communication, computer, collaboration and intelligence capabilities. Installation of a fixed terminal here will let depot personnel recreate faults and failures of terminals around the globe and provide rapid solutions without having to send a team into the field.
Tobyhanna teams are installing AN/GSC-52B terminals and de-installing legacy systems in support of the fielding schedule for Product Director Wideband Enterprise Satellite Systems, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Savannah, Georgia resident John Flaherty, the Tobyhanna MET Installation Lead, says he is proud to lead an outstanding team and set new records in install times and quality.
“It is hard work, but I enjoy the team camaraderie,” he said. “The people I work with or work for me on site are outstanding. This work is strenuous labor, but the people assigned to me are outstanding. It is most rewarding to complete a system knowing we are supporting the warfighter.”
Fieldings are planned through fiscal 2023 at several other sites, including: Landstuhl, Germany, Camp Carroll, South Korea, Misawa, Japan and Wahiawa, Hawaii.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our Joint Warfighters.
About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.